Resources for managers: How to support your black employees

I don’t have any answers, just questions. These are the resources I found while seeking those answers.

Actionable advice:

To build up your empathy:

Black perspectives to Follow on twitter:

Portrait of George Floyd.

Some quotes from the articles above:

“So while all employees are likely grieving from losses incurred by this crisis, these disparities make clear that the impact may be felt more acutely among racial and ethnic minority workers. Black and brown employees and their families are not only overrepresented in vulnerable occupations; they are also vulnerable to trauma from racial inequalities outside of work, which are compounded by the coronavirus pandemic. Prior research indicates that firsthand and vicarious exposure to police brutality, ICE raids, separation of families at the border, and immigration bands deteriorate Black and brown workers’ engagement at work, especially when they feel unable to discuss societal racism and its effects on their well-being. The impact of Covid-19 disparities may similarly impact work engagement among employees of color.”

How U.S. Companies Can Support Employees of Color Through the Pandemic

“Our black folks are tapped out — they’re shouldering a lot emotionally right now,” Kim said. “I do feel tension asking black people to contribute more right now, when there is already so much out there they’ve put out.” To be a better colleague or manager at this time, Kim says, “it’s probably safe to just assume folks are exhausted and distraught.”

How you can be a better coworker or manager to your black colleagues right now

“We can’t just rely on the small percentage of black executives who reach the top to wave the flag. That’s an unfair burden,” Mayo says. “If real systemic change is going to happen, it has to come from the white majority who often are in positions that give them greater leverage to change the environment. That being said, white employees may worry about their ability to effectively discuss race, but if they approach it with a sense of openness and learning, they can play an important role in advocating change.”

6 Steps to Building a Better Workplace for Black Employees

The goal of support is to validate Black experiences and to show your solidarity. But demonstrating solidarity “has to happen without exacerbating the spotlight that Black folks already feel in and on their skin, and without putting the burden on Black employees to devise solutions to overcome their own oppression,” 

What Not To Say To Your Black Colleagues Right Now

The Underachievers on Thinking Outside the Box

“The separation of god and men is the biggest lie in the planet, and the downfall of humanity”
—Issa Gold, The Underachievers

I’ll admit it, I don’t know much about hip-hop. But! I only had to listen to this duo once during this interview to realize that there was something there for me. Not sure if it was their attitude, vocabulary, or ideas, or all of the above.

The most interesting thing in this world are connections and this duo puts together a most unusual and unexpected sources of influence for their rapping prose. It’s always a delight to hear somebody recommend a good book with the same passion as they talk about a cartoon series, drugs and mind enlightenment.

The Underachievers are rather understated, subtly and unexpectedly dropping intellectual bombs.

If you are like me, unable to follow the rapid fire of their lyrics, head over to Genius, where you can not only read the lyrics of their songs but read the comments of their fans as they interpret all the symbols and messages of their dense verses.

“I’m The, I’m The…
Reincarnation of a king long gone
The highest enlightened nigga, sittin’ on top a sun
An angel told me in a dream, like Neo “I’m the One”
So I’m out here freeing souls from they bondage to the love
U-N-I-T-Y, Free my people, now we fly
Fools stuck to the ground, wondering why we be high
Brainstorming like beehives, knowledge higher than the skies
On a divine mission, nigga don’t get left behind”
—The Underachievers

On Robots Taking on Creative Jobs

Despite our ingrained mechanophobia, everyday we find more examples of robots doing creative chores, including as writing books. There are over a million books that can ber purchased on Amazon written by robots. Granted most of these books are non-fiction works, but they are books non the less. Over. A. Million. Books written by robots! Crazy.

Does writing a book require an algorithm, intelligence or a “soul”?

Here’s an extract from an interview with Phil Parker, a writer of algorithms that write books. Parker explains the spirit of his algorithm and the goals of it:

I have not created any new way of writing. All I’m doing is writing computer programs that mimic the way people write. Going back to the Elizabethan sonnets, Shakespeare or one of his contemporaries created the 14-line iambic pentameter poem, where the rhyming pattern was ‘a-b, a-b, c-d, c-d, e-f, e-f g-g.’ G-g being a couplet at the end. By line 9 there has to be a turn in the poem, so there has to be a phrase like ‘yet’ or ‘but.’ The first line is typically a question, which acts as a title. All of them are 10 syllables in each line… they have to go in the rhythm of that pattern. If you do an analysis of sonnets, you’ll realize that about 10% of sonnets violate those rules. But they do it only in a very particular way. Even that formulation of violation is itself constrained… Once you have all of those rules you then write algorithms that mimic those rules. It’s a very different kind of philosophy from artificial intelligence.

[…] There’s the classic turing test about a conversation with a robot: Can you tell the difference between a robot and a real human who’s conversing with you? Is there something different about these topics? I don’t think anybody would look at our crossword puzzle books and say, ‘Oh my gosh, a computer wrote this,’ because most crossword puzzles are so formulaic that you would expect it to be formulaic… If people find it useful to be in a formulaic format, so much the better. The goal isn’t to sound better than an author. The goal is to deliver something useful to people. That’s the end of it, no more. Otherwise, why bother doing it?

Why Write Your Own Book When An Algorithm Can Do It For You?

Internet is the Avant-Garde Paris of Today

Painters, sculptors and writers migrated to Paris—the center of vanguard art—during the early decades of the 20th century.

The Lobby of the Beat Hotel.

The importance of the context can’t be ignored. Picasso was—obviously—talented technically, but he also fed from, and contributed to, the zeitgeist of the times. Picasso traveled from Spain to Paris because he knew it was the place where the action was. Paris was the place to get influences and contribute to.

Internet is that Paris of 1920’s. The new cradle of art is Internet. Today’s artists and creators are gathering in digital hubs, sharing ideas, creating new genres of art, learning, evolving and sharing.

20 years from now an artist that’s not on the Internet will not be relevant. It’s not enough to create art, one has to join in, engage the audience to understand their thoughts, and to serve their needs.


Maruja Mallo on Solitude

Maruja Mallo on solitude and her connection with the cosmos.

My biggest asset is solitude because it gives me everything. In solitude I am in connection with the Milky Way, with astrology, with astronomy, with Science, with Art, with the Everything. It’s wealth. Man is measured by the amount of solitude he can bear.
—Maruja Mallo

Maruja Mallo y Josefina Carabias - Antro De Fosiles, Madrid 1931

And in her own words in Spanish:

Mi mayor capital es la soledad por que me lo da todo. En la soledad yo estoy en comunicación con la via láctea, con la astrología, con la astronomía, con la ciencia con el arte, con el todo. Es un capital. El hombre se mide por la soledad que aguanta.
—Maruja Mallo